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Colm's Corner
Columnist: Colm Kavanagh

Bubbles and Slides
10 January 2006


Goodbye and farewell to the annus horribilis that was 2005 a year no doubt remembered by most Evertonians as the year when the wheels well and truly fell off the David Moyes bandwagon.  Unbridled optimism came crashing back to earth, no thanks to an eye-opening capitulation against Bucharests third best club side.  Before Christmas it would not be the last time wed witness an Everton defensive collapse.  Ouch! 

However, it must also be recorded that, in time-honoured Everton glass half empty mode that we dwell on the dross served up over the past twelve months, the heavy defeats and the incredible lack of goals, yet nonchalantly overlook the fact that we actually finished the season in fourth place, our highest finish since the creation of the Premiership.  That is a FACT.  Its never dull being an Evertonian, thats for sure

Before the recent AGM, our CEO, Mr Wyness, informed us via the local media that Everton FC were now listed (based on last years figures) as one of the 20 richest clubs in the world.  Wonderful!  Coincidentally, our chairman, Mr Kenwright chose that very same day to FINALLY admit, for the first time in public, that the proposed Fortress Sports Fund money was dead in the water.  Spin, spin, spin thats the way this club operates. 

We also read that day, pre-AGM, that the long-awaited Youth Academy was finally about to become a reality, at Finch Farm:  Mr. Wyness saying, "We are close to reaching financial agreement to start in February, with occupancy planned at the end of next season (2006-07 season)."  Mr. Wyness, at the AGM, used a PowerPoint presentation to show us how hes turned things around, from the brink of administration to a working profit of 100,000 and a place in Deloitte and Touches top 20 clubs. 

Fanciful images, graphs and corporate-speak may indeed impress some and confuse and sidetrack others.  We were treated to various sized club logos with Mr Wyness expressing a desire to one day see his Everton image (small bubble) on a par with clubs like Newcastle, Tottenham and Aston Villa (bigger bubbles).  I wanted to know where and when Id see a thumbnail image of Wayne Rooney, Thomas Gravesen, the Eileen Craven car park or the Megastore, in this glorious PowerPoint presentation, to denote the very reasons why were no longer in dire straits financially.  Its the necessary asset stripping thats loosened the noose, not the vision and skills of a CEO, and his team. 

Just how tighter the belt must become, seeing as Bill working 24/7 Kenwright remains unlucky in his personal quest to secure investment into Everton, remains to be seen.  Mr Wyness has no more Wayne Rooneys to flog, to bail us out.  Our performance this season will almost guarantee a massive drop in broadcasting revenue incoming.  Season 2004-05 saw us receive 29.5M, an increase of 8.8M on the previous season.  I suspect Mr Wyness may have to add a further notch or two to that ever-tightening Everton financial belt.  Breathe in, and fasten

Which is precisely why were now hearing soundbytes from the manager David Moyes about our prospective transfer spree this month being possibly null and void.  Time will tell whether or not Mr Moyes is playing the coy manager in public, citing a lack of funds available as he continues the search for players he so obviously needs in order to strengthen his squad.  Hand on heart; Im taking his latest comments with a pinch of salt, as I believe hes signing his own death warrant if he fails to secure the services of a recognised goal scorer this month.  I do believe though that hell have to sell first in order to facilitate possible new faces.  Hardly what one might expect from a Club boasting inclusion in the D & T Rich List but there you go

If David Moyes is indeed, for once, saying it as it truly is (i.e. were skint!) then questions need to be asked.  Playing his own little role in the art of spin from within Goodison Park, Mr Moyes chose the day of the AGM to concede that "the priority will be to bring in another forward player if possible, as Bill and the board know.  Less than two months later, on the back of two successive League wins and our goals scored tally finally moving into double figures (gulp!), our position near the foot of the Premiership remains reason enough for concern, and we hear the same man singing a different tune and not one that most Evertonians want to hear "I don't think there'll be any movement at all.  The people I would prefer to bring in are not available. I don't think there'll be anyone coming in." 

Well know by the end of the month whether or not were left relying upon the present motley crew coming good in front of goal in order to avoid a dreaded relegation scrap over the coming spring months.  I admit to being a little disturbed at hearing and seeing David Moyes also using a PowerPoint presentation at the AGM, to counter any criticism of his management over the past year.  We do not need any manager of Everton Football Club to tell us where weve consistently been for the past decade or more graphs mapping our decline as a big club being used as some sort of excuse for his own failings this year. 

I have a feeling the Board are applying the usual wait and see policy, noting (hopefully) theres at least three worse teams than us.  The only spanner in the works possibly being Appy Arrys new-found access to Mr Gaydamaks dodgy grubby used notes down at Portsmouth giving Appy Arry license to do what he most loves wheel and deal, a little bit of this, a little bit of that.  If we come away from Fratton Park next Saturday with nothing, then I fully expect to see our Board, and manager, shit bricks in order to facilitate deals of our own.  Expect numerous articles from Dave Prentice and Dominic King linking us to all sorts if we emerge from the two league games in January with no points.  Or goals.

Its futile trying to convince a room full of shareholders that alls well at the Club when patently it is not.  Bubbles and slides was the term used by one voice from the back of the room on the night, an observation absolutely spot on, as those up on the top table used a succession of graphs and pie charts to dig their way out of the black hole that resides down Goodison Road these days.  Davey, unless you get off your arse and demand action in the transfer window this month, I suspect you wont be seated at the top table come the next AGM, waiting nervously for your turn to bullshit your way through a PowerPoint presentation.  We need a goalscorer, Sir!

Colm Kavanagh


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